Dear Sun Spots: I am looking for information on how to get on the Do Not Call List for telemarketers calling me. – Norman Veilleux, Lewiston.

Answer:
According to the Federal Trade Commission, enforcement of the National Do Not Call Registry began Oct 1. All consumers whose numbers were on the registry by Aug. 31 should have noticed a downturn in telemarketing calls starting Oct. 1. Consumers registering after Sept. 1, will notice a drop in telemarketing calls within three months of the date they register.

Credit Bureaus also offer a toll-free number that enables you to “opt-out” of having pre-approved credit offers sent to you for two years. Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (567-8688) for more information. When you call, you’ll be asked for personal information, including your home telephone number, your name and your Social Security number. The information you provide is confidential and will be used only to process your request to opt out of receiving pre-screened offers of credit. In addition, you can notify the three major credit bureaus that you do not want personal information about you shared for promotional purposes – an important step toward eliminating unsolicited mail. Write to the three major credit bureaus to limit the amount of information the credit bureaus will share about you. Send your letter to each of three major credit bureaus:

Equifax Inc.

Options

P.O. Box 740123,

Atlanta, GA 30374-0123

Experian

Consumer Opt-Out

701 Experian Parkway,

Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion

Marketing List Opt Out

P.O. Box 97328

Jackson, MS 39288-7328

The federal government has created the National Do Not Call Registry – the free, easy way to reduce the telemarketing calls you get at home. To register or to get information, visit www.donotcall.gov, or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register. You will receive fewer telemarketing calls within three months of registering your phone number. It will stay in the registry for five years or until it is disconnected or you take it off the registry. After five years, you will be able to renew your registration.

The Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service lets you opt out of receiving direct mail marketing from many national companies for five years. When you register with this service, your name will be put on a “delete” file and made available to direct-mail marketers. However, your registration will not stop mailings from organizations that are not registered with the DMA’s Mail Preference Service. To register with DMA, send your letter to:

Direct Marketing Association

Mail Preference Service

P.O. Box 643

Carmel, NY 10512

Or, register online at www.the-dma.org/consumers/offmailinglist.html.

The Direct Marketing Association also has an E-Mail Preference Service to help you reduce unsolicited commercial e-mails. To “opt-out” of receiving unsolicited commercial e-mail, use DMA’s online form at www.dmaconsumers.org/offemaillist.html. Your online request will be effective for one year.

The Drivers Privacy Protection Act allows states to distribute personal information only to law enforcement officials, courts, government agencies, private investigators, insurance underwriters and similar businesses – but not for direct marketing and other uses.

The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the this country and abroad.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at www.sunjournal.com in the Inform Us section under Press Release.














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